Wednesday, June 20, 2012

1746 - Take This Waltz

First off, a rant.  I was really excited to see this, especially when I saw that they were releasing it through iTunes first - but of course when the date came I realized it was only in the United States that they were doing it that way.  Which makes complete sense that they'd release a Canadian film in another country first.  I'm no expert on distribution or why they couldn't have done it in both countries at the same time, but what I do know is that we live in an age where if someone wants to get something - they can.  Luckily I work in the film and television industry in Canada and so all it took was a phone call and I was able to get my hands on a screener of this film (Yes.  I will buy it as soon as they deem it possible for me to do so through iTunes).  But I also noticed that there were already several versions of it available through bittorrent.  So here's a note to distributors - if you release a film in one territory and delay it in another what you're asking people who are really desperate to see the film, is for them to steal it.  I firmly believe that if you give people a chance to do the right thing, to pay to see something, that the vast majority will.  However if you don't give them that option as soon as possible, they'll just do whatever it takes.  Okay.  Rant over.
I love Sarah Polley's first film, Away From Her, and if you haven't seen it do yourself a favour.  For some bizarre reason it's not on Netflix.  Shame on Netflix. 
Take This Waltz follows the recent Canadian trend of putting recognizable faces into a Canadian film - thankfully at least Seth Rogen is Canadian.  There's a lot to like about this film.  It's sweet, it takes its time in really letting you into these characters and their insecurities and portrays a really realistic couple.  Rogen and Williams LOVE each other.  But with love in a marriage comes minor annoyances.  You aren't always on the same page and so you end up getting pissy with each other for the littlest things and hurting each other for things you don't mean and in ways you can't imagine.  Polley nails that aspect of long term relationships.  Michelle Williams dazzles here as a woman who is trying to figure out what she wants from her life.  She's married to really lovely and fun guy (Rogen), but is infatuated with her new neighbour (Luke Kirby - whom I love in everything he's in, always - another Canadian gem!).  And so the question begins - what makes relationships exciting - something tried and tested, or something new and shiny? 
I struggled slightly with the first half of this film as I started to feel like Polley was making a comment on relationships that I didn't quite agree with, but as the film progressed you see that she's masterfully setting up a situation in which she's going to pull the emotional rug out from under you in a way that you didn't fully expect.  Anyone that questions Rogen's chops as an actor needs to watch him here.  He uses his natural charms to full effect, but we get a very tender side, one that is vulnerable and lovely.  He's fantastic here.  Sarah Silverman gives a fantastic performance as Rogen's sister dealing with her own demons.  And if you've ever wondered what Silverman looks like fully naked - wonder no more - there's a scene halfway through where there's a pretty revealing scene for several women, and it's use in the grand scheme is really quite artful.
Some reviewers have called this film pretentious - and I'm not sure that I agree.  Is it slightly quirky, sure.  But it's honest more than anything else.  And it's a gorgeous film to look at, and a beautiful use of the wonderful city of Toronto.  It's getting a theatrical release on June 29th, so get thee to a theatre!  I don't think this one is for everyone, but if you're a fan of emotional love stories, it's a great one.

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